When shopping for kitchen appliances you’ll see a dizzying array of choices, from basic models to ones loaded with features. But your countertops might outlast your appliances by years, maybe decades, making this decision one you’ll live with for some time. Consumer Reports tested 14 materials and found that except for recycled glass, there wasn’t much difference among competing brands, but there were big differences in materials. Here’s a look at our tests and what’s new in countertops.
Crazy about quartz. This synthetic material is becoming more popular and some mimics stone, although may look too uniform to be realistic. Quartz also comes in vivid colors such as Caeserstone’s Apple Martini and Red Shimmer. Quartz was tops in our tests, whether polished or matte finish. Sharp knives, abrasive pads, hot pots, and most stains didn’t damage it plus it’s easy to maintain and doesn’t require sealing. Silestone’s suede series is designed to have a leathery finish with little reflection, but their website warns that this finish may require extra care.
CR tip: Edges and corners can chip and repairs aren’t a DIY project. Rounded edges help.
Granite’s rock solid rep. It’s been rumored to be on its way out for years but granite is still among the most desirable or must-have kitchen features, according to a recent study from the
CR tip: When properly sealed, matte finish and polished granite fended off most stains, so reseal periodically to maintain resistance. Chipped edges and corners are a possibility and only a pro can repair them.